In an effort to protect animals, the FDA is making new, more strict laws for pet food manufacturers. According to NBC News, the Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act will require companies that make pet food and animal feed to implement hazard analysis and sanitation processes. Many companies will need to shore up their standards and food tracking and tracing processes; an automated data collection tools can help with these efforts.
"We have been pushing feed safety for a number of years," said Daniel McChesney, director of the office of surveillance and compliance at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, according to the news source. "It's not, 'Oh, we're just making food for animals.' They're the first part of the food chain. We're a part of the overall food industry."
Until now, no requirement has made companies look closely at these products. Many rules govern human food, but recent outbreaks of salmonella-tainted bird and aflatoxin being found in dog food have made this necessary, NBC News said.
According to an RFgen whitepaper titled "Protecting Your Brand: The Food Traceability Survival Guide," only 52 percent of food companies can execute a recall within hours as the FDA expects with modern technology. This is likely because 81 percent use paper-based or only partially automated systems. A modern data collection system should be utilized to protect a company from large monetary losses.
Six Ways Technology Can Help with FDA Compliance
Here are six ways a company can make food traceability part its core technology processes:
- Use an ERP system. With a centralized system that can track by lot numbers, SKUs, serial numbers and more, you'll have the ability to track ingredients through the manufacturing process and products through the supply chain.
- Employ automated data collection with barcodes or RFID. Scanning a barcode is a simple, accurate, and efficient way to gather information capture large volumes of information quickly about materials and finished products.
- Voice-enable your warehouse for greater speed. Voice-enabled data collection can be up to 99 percent accurate and 20 percent more productive.
- Design validity tests for incoming information. Help employees avoid mistakes by creating logical, efficient workflows that include tests that prevent bad data from entering the system. For example, you can set up your automated data collection system to prevent an employee from entering a lot number in the warehouse that hasn't been created in the ERP system.
- Use your IT systems to perform timely product holds. Use your ERP and data collection system to ensure that lots being tested for quality or safety are held in the warehouse until results are available and then released quickly for shipment and sale.
- Give your customers the information they need. License plating makes it easy to provide retailers with complete information about country of origin and other product attributes.
Pet Food Company Improves Food Traceability
Menu Foods (now Simmons Pet Food) sought to improve its ability to track and trace its pet food products through the supply chain. They chose RFgen for its proven success in giving customers total lot traceability, efficiency, and real-time integration with their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne system. You can read the entire case study here.